Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Financial market bailout

I've hesitated to blog on the bailout. I did not want to rush to judgment and I wanted to see what the deal really was before declaring my support or opposition. Believing in free market capitalism, my default position is to oppose bailouts or any excessive government involvement in private enterprise. However, I also understand how interconnected the financial markets are and how failure of a couple banks could lead to a lack of confidence in the entire industry. Additionally, I realized how the entire economy depends on available credit. A financial market meltdown could potentially lead to a near total shutdown of our economy. The bigger concern regarded precedent setting government involvement, I also was worried about how the removal of pain from taking excessive risk would lead to even more egregious management decisions in the future.

How did we get to this mess? While the problem may scream for action it also demands an examination of the actions that brought us to this point and hopefully accountability for those responsible. Congressional leaders seeking to avoid responsibility have claimed excessive greed is to blame. Okay? Problem is that is a BS answer. Greed alone does nothing without someone willing to act upon that emotion. Greed only succeeds if an institution or industry fail to ensure the system can't be gamed. Who enabled greed to win. Or rather, who changed the game. Who cheated? Who benefited from cheating? I can't answer all those questions, but if the federal government believes it is important enough to solve this problem then they should put equal effort into identifying the guilty parties and exacting a pound of flesh.

For those interested in how we got to this point, these videos are very enlightening.


Burning down the house.

After reading dozens of articles and watching the above videos, I'm convinced of a few things. First this problem was caused (or at least exacerbated) by a movement over the past couple decades to treat home ownership and credit as a civil right. Secondly, we had individuals in charge of GSE's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who gamed the system to get massive bonuses while hiding the impending crisis. We had congresscritters fighting against regulation of Fannie Mae in order to protect friends in executive positions at that organization (Obama advisor Franklin Raines and Clinton Justice Department political hack Jamie Gorelick). From the business side of things the biggest contributing factor was a lack of fear of the potential risk. We can not ignore the actions of John and Jane Doe. Many regular folks entered into mortgage agreements without the means to pay for their loan. In my book, if you buy something and don't pay for it you're a thief. A two-bit thief steals cigarettes from the corner grocery. A big time thief with lots of accomplices go big time and steal homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. You get thousands of big time thieves and all of a sudden you need 700 billion dollars available to Treasury to avoid a massive economic collapse.

Bottom line: The risk to our economy is sufficiently grave that I reluctantly support a deal. However, my support is based on a couple caveats. None of the money in this deal goes to anything but the intended problem - NO stink'n earmarks. An early version of the deal scuttled by House Republicans included money to a Democrat voter fraud organization called ACORN. My second condition is accountability. Crooks like Franklin Raines should pay back fraudulently obtained bonus money and face prison time.

Many people wrote or called their congressman to express their opposition to any deal. I'd urge those people to follow up with a call saying if they truly believe a deal is necessary then make sure it includes NO earmarks, ensures accountability, and ensure no repeat of the situation.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Charlie Gibson's "Are We Fighting a Holy War" moment

A week or so ago, Gov. Palin sat for a one on one interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC. During the interview Gibson ambushed Palin with a partial quote of a speech she gave that completely changed the meaning of her words. Here is a link to a video from Newt Gingrich that shows what her real complete quote was and includes similar quotes from Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and Abraham Lincoln. Gibson needs to either admit he was being duplicitous or that he screwed up and was misled regarding the quote and failed to verify the context. If he is unwilling to do that then ABC has a responsibility to take action.

Labels: , ,

Ohio goes to McCain

The McCain campaign does not need to waste anymore financial resources on advertising in Ohio except to get this word out:
Speaking to members of the University of Delaware football team Friday morning, the Democratic VP candidate said: "I was out in Ohio," he said while fiddling with a football in his hands. "I told the folks in Ohio that we'd kick Ohio State's ass!" (It remains unclear if Biden actually ever told Ohio voters this.)
Like most of Biden's ramblings it obviously is a BS lie since if he actually said it in Ohio we'd have heard about him getting beaten silly. Regardless in the wake of the whooping the Buckeyes took from USC last weekend no one in Ohio needs or wants to hear some political hack say a Division 1-AA team could beat OSU.

A Racism Free Blog Certificate

I understand I can use this plus 99 cents to get a cup of coffee (not valid at Starbucks):

(h/t Dave of Nixguy)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is CNN's Jack Cafferty a race baiting clown?

Anyone who mistakenly watches CNN knows Jack Cafferty is a self-important buffoon in the mold of a Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olberman. However, now he is making statements that indicates he is also a race baiting clown.
The differences between Barack Obama and John McCain couldn't be more well-defined. Obama wants to change Washington. McCain is a part of Washington and a part of the Bush legacy. Yet the polls remain close. Doesn't make sense…unless it's race.
So, the only thing that would explain the polls to Cafferty is race? People couldn't possibly disagree with Obama's naive foreign policy ideas? We couldn't possibly disagree with his domestic policy plans that sound a lot like socialism? People couldn't be considering Sen. McCain out of concern for Obama's complete lack of experience. The only conceivable reason anyone is voting for Sen. McCain is race. Right? Wrong! There are many legitimate reasons to vote for or against either John McCain or Barack Obama, but either candidates skin color is not one of those legitimate reasons.

A few months ago I said we would see a lot of this racial crap as we get closer to the election. We will hear endlessly how this election is a referendum on whether race relations have improved in this country. What hogwash.

I could be wrong, but I fully expect the race card to be overplayed and backfire. Regular folks are tired of worrying about being called racist over innocent comments. We can all agree that saying the "N" word is racially provocative and wrong. However, when political morons try to equate demeaning the job of "community organizer" as being a racist code language they will lose the support of normal folks. Personally, when I heard Giuliani and Palin mock the job of community organizer the only connection I made was to communists like Saul Alinsky who advocated using community activists to undermine society. In fact Alinsky's son wrote an op-ed praising Sen. Obama's acceptance speech saying Obama learned his lesson well.


Bizzyblog notes the AP sanitizing their story about Kansas Gov. Sebelius making the "code_word" racism charge in order to make it seem less incendiary. Like I said, the charge will be thrown out more and more as Dems get desperate.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama's problem with women

Sen. Obama is at risk of losing a demographic group that has consistently voted more than 50% for the Democratic candidate in national elections. Some of the problem is out of his control. To secure the nomination he had to overcome a popular female candidate who was expected to easily secure the nomination. However, choosing a running mate was something within his control and instead of picking his formal rival, the agent of imaginary change went with just another old white guy (Biden). On top of that his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, chose a female running mate. Since the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain's any attacks against her by the Obama team have backfired and at times appeared sexist. Here are links to a few articles regarding women who normally vote Democrat but are now taking a second look at the GOP in the wake of Palin's VP nomination:

'She's one of us': Palin wins over Obama women

Rebecca Johnson: 'I am a liberal, but I'm blown away by Sarah Palin'

The Rantings of a P.T.A. Mom

Then today I see an article that says Obama (who demagogues the issue of gender pay disparity) pays the women on his staff less then the men while McCain pays the women on his staff more than his male staffers. How Team Obama Pays Women

I'm sure polls will soon reflect whether the number of women voting Republican is shifting. Thing is it does not need to be a massive percentage to spell major problems for Obama. If he does just a couple percentage points worse among women than John Kerry did in 2004 he will lose big.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just another case of chickens coming home to roost

After the September 11th attacks "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright (you know the guy under the bus who used to be Barack Obama's mentor, spiritual advisor, and pastor for 20+ years) declared that the attacks were just "America's chickens com'n home to roost" in other words 9/11 was our own fault. Well, Wright has some chickens coming home to his roost.
Jeremiah Wright, the firebrand pastor and former intimate of Barack Obama is in the news again. On the front page of today's New York Post, he is accused of having an affair with one Elizabeth Payne, a 37-year old church worker, who has told the newspaper this was the reason for the eventual breakdown of her marriage.
Marriages fail for any number of reasons and normally I'd shy away from passing judgment or even commenting on marital failings. However, since this goof didn't hesitate to pass judgment on our country I'll make an exception. It is one of the lowest forms of "men" that would betray his own marriage vows and entice another to break their marriage vows. I would recommend this turd get his own house in order before he lectures the rest of us.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Africans smarter than Americans?

Well, maybe not smarter, but definitely more appreciative. Here is a snippet from a Boston Globe article titled Bush's enduring legacy in Africa.
WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH traveled to sub-Sahara Africa in February he was greeted by large and tumultuous crowds of admirers - which mystified many of his critics, who believe that the animosity toward his administration abroad is universal. But polling data from the Pew Foundation shows something different: Approval ratings for the United States exceed 80 percent in many African countries, some with large Muslim populations. In Darfur, many families name their newborn sons George Bush.
Time will tell if American will be more appreciative of President Bush's efforts in hindsight.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gov. Palin's Convention Speech

It isn't easy to rank political speeches. Some stand the test of time & some don't. Some get lost immediately by being overshadowed by an event or another speech that follows. For example, Edward Everett was considered one of the greatest orators of the 19th century and based on his reputation he was selected to give the primary speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg Battlefield Cemetery. He spent weeks preparing his speech which went nearly two hours long. Then another speaker took to the podium and in three minutes delivered a speech that completed overshadowed the two hour effort.

That intro to this post is meant to temper peoples over excitement about Gov. Palin's vice presidential nominee acceptance speech. Don't get me wrong. It was an excellent speech expertly delivered. Listening to commentary and reading reviews of the speech it appears unanimous that she did great.

Last night, Palin did what she had to do. She showed she is more than ready for prime time. Some political pundits have wondered whether someone who hasn't been on the national stage was up to this task. Well, after the speech some are comparing her to Maggie Thatcher. The speech itself was short on specific policy. However, an in depth policy dissertation wasn't the purpose of that speech. Her task was to fully introduce herself to the country, prove she wasn't some rube from the hicks of Alaska and show she is ready to do the attack dog job of the VP candidate without forfeiting her friendly nature. I'd say she achieved all three. After the speech I felt like I've known her for years. As they say she's regular folks. Her smooth delivery and effective timing showed she is no rube. Lastly, she hit their opponents without being mean spirited.

In the 1980's the late Texas governor Ann Richards famously crowed a line about George H.W. Bush being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple. Well, Sarah Palin wasn't born on third but instead had to fight to get into the game and ended up hitting a home run.

Bottom line: None of it will matter if Sen. McCain isn't able to make the case to the American to elect him. People vote for the top of the ticket. The VP may attract some to be more enthusiastic, but the person at the top of the ticket has to close the deal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stealing the show

Tomorrow I'll post more thoughts about Gov. Palin's speech. However, it is clear tonight who stole the show. The camera's focused on the family and showed the governor's daughter Piper holding the youngest child Trig and then she licked her hand used the wet hand to comb the baby's hair - twice! Anyone with more than a couple siblings can relate.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where was this Fred Thompson?

I was an early supporter of Sen. Fred Thompson and Rep. Duncan Hunter in the Republican primaries. Neither man made much head way in fund raising or garnering votes. Thompson was particularly disappointing as he never seemed to have the fire in his belly for campaigning. Maybe it's that he didn't have it in him to strongly attack in a primary contest those he basically agrees with and likes. Whatever the reason, tonight before the Republican convention he gave an enthusiastic speech supporting Sen. John McCain's candidacy. The first thing that hit me was why didn't we see this 8 months ago? Tonight he is fighting harder for John McCain than he fought for himself. Read into that what you want, but to me it shows he would rather fight for someone than against someone.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Congratulations Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee threw a shutout to win his 20th game tonight against only 2 losses making him the first Indians pitcher to win 20 or more in a season since Gaylord Perry in 1974. An amazing accomplishment for a pitcher coming off an injury filled substandard season in 2007. Last year, in 16 starts Lee went 5 - 8 with an awful 6.29 ERA. After tonight he is 20 - 2 with an astounding 2.32.


Secret Life of an American Teenager

The title of this post is borrowed from a new television series that started a month or so ago. The show tells the story of a high school sophomore who discovers she is pregnant just as the new school year is starting. While some of the characters are overly exaggerated versions of common stereotypes, our family has taken to watching the show each week. With a daughter entering her sophomore year of high school the show has hit home.

What causes me to write about that show today is news out of the political world that vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin's 17 year-old daughter Bristol is 5 months pregnant. However, unlike Amy Juergens of the TV show, Bristol's life will be anything but secret. We all make mistakes, but this young lady will see hers play out on the most public of stages. I would recommend she not visit the internet for a while as there will likely be some ugly things written about her and her family. If you believe in the power of prayer keep Bristol Palin in your prayers.

Apparently, Sen. McCain was aware of this situation before making his decision and did not let the daughter's mistake affect his decision. I'm sure some who wanted another VP choice (Romney, Pawlenty, etc.) will point to this as evidence of poor judgment. Time will tell.

Labels: ,


View My Stats